Mocha Chocolate Chip Espresso Cupcakes

by Natasha on April 3, 2013

Mocha Chip Espresso Cupcakes

Have I mentioned how much I love my Bouchon Bakery cookbook? I got it for my birthday back in February, and even though I’ve spent hours staring at the lovely photographs (it’s my new coffee table book), I’ve hardly made any of the recipes. I’ve been dying to try the devil’s food cake, since it’s one of my very favorite desserts ever, so I was really excited to try Thomas Keller’s version. You might remember the devil’s food cake I made for my birthday this year, which I absolutely loved, so I wanted to see how this would compare.

Mocha Chip Espresso Cupcakes

The recipe differs quite a bit from the Baking Illustrated version. There’s no melted chocolate, and mayonnaise is used instead of milk or sour cream. I know what you’re thinking. Mayonnaise? In a fancy French cookbook? I thought the same thing. Chocolate mayonnaise cake was popular in during World War 2, when certain ingredients were in short supply and people had to get creative. If you think about it, it makes sense. Mayo is made of egg, oil, and vinegar, which are all common ingredients in cakes anyway.

I hate to use the word moist, because it makes me cringe a little bit, but for lack of a better word, this cake was moist. The moistest chocolate cake I have ever made. Like with any cake, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to make this. Not only is it more accurate, but it creates less dishes. :)

Mocha Chip Espresso Cupcakes

I normally use real or instant espresso in my espresso frosting, but this time, I tried coffee extract. I have to say, I liked it better. It gave a strong coffee flavor without being too bitter. Plus, I didn’t have to wait for the espresso to cool or the espresso powder to dissolve. I also added a few teaspoons of coffee extract to the cupcakes to give them a mocha flavor. Of course, you can sub either of these ingredients for coffee extract if you don’t have any on hand.

The original recipe calls for a 9-inch cake, but I wanted to try it in cupcake form. I managed to squeeze out 12 cupcakes by getting every last ounce of batter out of the mixer, but next time, I’ll probably make 11 so each one will be a little bit bigger.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Espresso Cupcakes

Yield: 11-12 cupcakes


    For the cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons (101 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (31 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon (.5 grams) baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (56 grams) eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (126 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) coffee extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons (86 grams) mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 grams) water, at room temperature
  • For the frosting
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 teaspoons coffee extract
  • pinch of salt
  • mini chocolate chips for topping


    For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit and line a cupcake pan with paper liners
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the salt and whisk together.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and coffee extract on medium low speed for about 1 minute.
  5. Turn up to medium, and continue beating for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has become pale and thick.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue beating on medium high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have thickened by this point.
  7. And the mayonnaise and whisk until combined.
  8. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture and the water in 2 additions each.
  9. Use a cookie scoop to evenly divide the batter between the paper liners.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool completely before frosting.
  12. For the frosting
  13. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  14. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low, until just combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  15. Add the vanilla extract, coffee extract, and salt. Mix until combined.
  16. Fill a decorating bag with the frosting and pipe onto the cupcakes in swirls.
  17. Top with mini chocolate chips.
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Cupcake recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sally @ sallys baking addiction April 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

i’ve done the whole mayonnaise thing in recipes before – it works wonders! These look wonderful. That frosting? Looks insanely delicious. I love mocha. :)
sally @ sallys baking addiction recently posted…Peanut Butter S’more 7 Layer Bars.My Profile


2 Natasha April 5, 2013 at 8:21 am

Thank you, Sally!


3 Julia | April 5, 2013 at 2:11 am

Love these cupcakes – work of art! Coffee extract in the frosting is the only way I will consume coffee (I am not a coffee drinker). I understand your love for Bouchon Bakery cookbook – I am right now totally into French Laundry cookbook.
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4 Natasha April 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

Thanks, Julia! How do you like your French Laundry cookbook? I would love to try some recipes from there.


5 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious April 5, 2013 at 2:38 am

Being the coffee lover that I am, this cupcake is totally screaming out to me!
Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious recently posted…Cinnamon Puppy ChowMy Profile


6 Natasha April 5, 2013 at 8:24 am

Haha, thanks Chung-Ah! These were screaming out to me too, but I made them for a friend’s birthday, so I could only eat one! Thanks for stopping by.


7 Yii-Huei April 5, 2013 at 5:43 am

I love your piping techniques, and the cupcakes sound delicious.
Yii-Huei recently posted…Brown butter snickerdoodlesMy Profile


8 Natasha April 5, 2013 at 8:24 am

Thanks, Yii-Huei!


9 KittyCupcakes April 5, 2013 at 5:54 am

Those are amazing! They make me drool only looking at the pictures!!


10 Natasha April 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

Thank you!


11 Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen April 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Your cupcakes look absolutely divine!
Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen recently posted…Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream FrostingMy Profile


12 Natasha April 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Thanks, Rosie!


13 Emma April 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm

These look to die for, I love mocha as a flavour. I too use coffee extract in buttercream like you I prefer it it gives it that perfect coffee flavour without being over bearing and I’ve even had non coffee drinker eat it! These do look lovely your piping on the frosting is first class really pretty, thanks for sharing :)
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14 Natasha April 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Thanks, Emma! I agree, the non-coffee drinkers seemed to like this milder frosting.


15 April 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at We are new but at we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.


16 Tina @ Tina's Chic April 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

Love, love, love coffee and chocolate together! I can’t wait to try these. I’ve been wanting to do a comparison using coffee extract, espresso powder and instant espresso so it’s interesting to note what you thought. :)


17 Kristy August 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

These sound to die for, but I don’t understand the 3 1/2 TBSP of egg. Please clarify.



18 Natasha August 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

56 grams is approximately one large egg, but if you don’t have a scale, you can beat the egg and measure it out in tablespoons.


19 Becky October 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Is there a way to substitute espresso powder for the coffee extract? Would love to make these with the coffee flavor but don’t want to wait to order the extract. Thanks!


20 Natasha October 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Yes, absolutely! You can dissolve 1 tablespoon on instant espresso powder in one teaspoon of boiling water. Make sure that it has cooled to room temperature before mixing it into the frosting.


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